Tag Archives: Twitter

Tools for Tracking Buzz on Twitter

Twitter is one of the most popular expressions of the social media boom. Though a very limited “micro-blogging” format — where speakers are limited to messages that are no more than 140 characters in length — it has become extremely popular, particularly with early adopters and people who spend a great deal of time online. As someone interested in marketing, I find Twitter to be a way to tap into the buzz from social-minded, technologically-friendly Internet users. Gauging that buzz can be a challenge.

In the course of preparing this year’s Open Source CMS Market Share Report, I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching Twitter as a means of judging buzz and popularity. As a result of that I have bookmarked quite a few tools that I found useful. In this post I share what I’ve found — perhaps it will save you some time.

There are 23 tools here, organized topically as follows:



The message data contained at Twitter.com can be analyzed directly through either search of the Tweets or by looking at the use of hashtags, that is, tags users have associated with particular Tweets.

Twitter Search


You should be aware of the default Twitter search functionality, as it does show basic trending information, but more importantly, you can tailor your searches to extract trend data by using either the advanced search interface or the Twitter Search Operators in your queries. While this may not produce the prettiest charts and graphs, the tools allows you to search by date, user, location, sentiment and other variables, thereby giving you the best control over the raw data set — direct from the source, as it were. The results display allows you to filter by language. Use the RSS feed to save your query and keep up with the Tweets as they occur. One disappointing aspect of this tool: it lacks result counts, export, and charting of the result set.



This site accumulates a directory of hashtags and lets you search for particular tags and track their activity for the previous 30 days. The default homepage allows you to view the most popular hashtags for the past day, week or month. One handy option allows you to get an RSS feed for a hashtag.


Want to find out what’s buzzing in a particular place? Geo-tracking of Twitter users is one way to do it.

Nearby Tweets


Geo-location filtering for Tweets. Want to find out every Tweet coming from within 100 miles of New York City or Paris or Hong Kong? You can do it here.



This application is more distraction than serious research but it is most certainly good fun. It takes Tweets and maps them on the world map as they happen.


When you have to know what’s happening across the Twitter-verse as it happens.



Monitor up to three terms or hashtags in real time. Great for tracking breaking stories and top Twitter trends



A real time Twitter monitoring tool. Twendz shows you the most recent Tweets on a topic, along with the most popular subtopics. It does very little, but the ability to isolate the incoming Tweets by sentiment is somewhat useful (thought not terribly accurate!)


When one user retweets a message from another user, the message is assumed to have some special value — at least to the user that retweeted it. When a message is retweeted many times by many users, you have a trend worthy of further examination.



Find out who and/or what is being re-tweeted now.

Retweet Radar


This is a limited tool that shows you a tag cloud related to the most popular topics on Twitter, judged by what is being retweeted. An archive lets you view the most recent days’ activity.


There is a wide selection of tools for tracking what’s hot — both in terms of topics and URLs.



A tool for tracking backlinks — in this case, links posted on Twitter. The system is able to identify both raw and compressed URLs. An advanced search option lets you filter by user and date. Useful options allow you to receive the information remotely, either by setting up e-mail alerts or by dragging the search bookmarklet to your browser toolbar. Perfect for tracking reputation or getting clues to the reach of the URLs you have tweeted. For a variation on this service, see this group’s other website service: backtype.)

Breaking Tweets


This site aggregates news, photos and other current events type data from Tweets. Stories are categorized by region and topic. It is searchable and you can extract the data into an RSS feed.



Set up email alerts for Tweets – sort of a Google Alerts-type service for Twitter. The free version sends either daily or hourly updates for up to 10 alert topics; the premium version costs $20 a month, gives you up to 200 alert topics and a 15 minute alert window. The tool includes a useful set of filters, allowing you to narrow searches by place, attitude, or speaker. Limited Boolean searches are also supported. Alerts can also be retrieved via RSS. (Note: At the time this was written the system was suffering from failures.)



A finger on the pulse of the Twitter masses. TweetingTrends tracks top Twitter trends and then uses Twitter to deliver the results. Follow their Twitter account to receive notifications via Twitter each time a new topic trending on Twitter enters the top 10.



Tracks the top URLs being discussed on Twitter. This is perhaps the most complete of the various URL tracking services. It goes so far as to organize popular topics into channels and presents the information in a variety of ways — including for those who want to grab a hold of the information firehose — a live Tweet stream. The system supports searching as well. Tweetmeme maintains a large number of different Twitter accounts, enabling you to follow particular channels for the most popular stories.



This cool one page website enables you to type in a word, phrase, URL or hashtag and get a snapshot of the reach of that term or phrase. It does this by finding all mentions, then reporting back to you the sources and the reach achieved by that user when they post a message. The system calculates total viewers and views. The tool is useful and interesting, but to get the most from it you will need to use the Twitter Search Operators in your query. Unfortunately there are significant limitations to the tool. The free version is limited to only 50 tweets. You can, for a fee of US$ 20, order a more complete report listing up to 1500 tweets across the last 7 days.



Twist lets you track trends in Twitter mentions on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Output is provided in graphical form, as shown below, along with a list of the most recent items. Charts can be embedded in your local website.


> above: Twist stats showing activity for search terms\ across 30 days.



This site requires you to log in with your Twitter I.D. Once you have logged in you can monitor trends by tag cloud, or by searching for trends. The options allow you to graph activity on one or more topics by last 6 hours, 1 day or 3 day increments, as shown below.


> above: Part of the Twitscoop display.

Twitter Power Search


This basic tool displays the Top Twitter Trends by day, week, or in near real time. You also have the option to enter the term of your choice to see Tweets in real time.



Another URL popularity tool, this time showing the most popular URLs of the moment. What distinguishes this tool is that it also displays thumbnails of the most popular pictures and videos.



Tracks most popular URLs on Twitter. Shows by default a list of the top URLs, but you can also search for the terms or URLs you wish to track. They maintain a Twitter site that automatically displays the current top 3 most popular URLs.


Several tools allow you to assess the reach and influence of particular users. You can also gain insight into their interests and various activity levels.



A great way to run numbers of Twitter user influence. Use the tool to graph Twitter activity by user name. Enter the Twitter username and the system will graph a wide variety about the user’s Twitter posting activity. Stats include, frequency, time, retweets, tool used, and aggregate daily and weekly totals. Graph output quality, as seen below, is also a step above many of the other tools on this list. Note if the user has protected their updates, the tool will not work — the user’s Tweets must be publicly accessible.


> above: Some of the many graphs produced by TweetStats.



By default this search tool shows you what’s hot right now, but the best feature here is the ability to run a search and get results displayed both by the authority of the poster and by most recent. Great way to find out who is talking about a topic. They also maintain a Twitter account that automatically Tweets the most popular trends.

Twitter Analyzer


Twitter Analyzer claims to be “the most advanced Twitter analytic system in the world.” While it is certainly powerful and slick (see below), it is focused purely on users, rather than on topics, trends, etc. Great if you are looking to assess a user’s influence, or want to find out more about a particular user’s Twitter usage patterns.

Twitter Analyzer

> above: Part of the Twitter Analyzer’s user profile dashboard.



Xefer is a Twitter activity monitor. Enter a user’s Twitter ID and the system produces a nice little heat map (see below, of the user’s historical activity. The output will also list the user’s replies, with a list of to whom they were directed and the frequency. Note if the user has protected their updates, the tool will not work — the user’s Tweets must be publicly accessible.


> above: xefer profile of a Twitter user.

This article originally appeared on RicShreves.net. Used by permission.

Avoiding Brand Confusion on Social Media

If you go to Facebook and you run a search for “Thai Airways,” you get a search results page like you see in the screenshot immediately below. Which one of the multiple Fan Pages listed there is the official Thai Airways Fan Page? Is there one? Is there more than one?

This situation highlights one of the most common problems facing brands in social media today: Avoiding brand confusion and keeping control of your brand. Though this problem is in no way unique to Facebook, let’s look at the situation facing Thai Airways as an example.

In the early days of Facebook it was possible for anyone to create a Fan Page using a brand name. Last year, Facebook (finally) recognized that allowing people to create unauthorized pages using other peoples’ brands was not an acceptable practice and they took steps to reduce the problem. (Very small steps, but steps nonetheless!) The first, and arguably least effective, approach was to add a disclaimer and have users certify that they had the authority / right / permission to create the page using the brand name. Facebook did not, however, go back to the people who had already created Fan Pages and push them for such assurances, thereby leaving a number of misleading profiles in place.

A second and more meaningful step was to set up a grievance procedure whereby brand and trademark owners could petition Facebook for the exclusive use of their brand or mark. While the redress procedure has been criticized for being mostly show — and being very slow to act — it is a step in the right direction. Companies like Thai Airways would do well to begin to shut down unauthorized profiles, and to reduce redundancy where they have created more than one Fan Page. Your brand is valuable. Take steps to protect it!

Hong Kong Disneyland recently experienced another problem of a similar nature — this time on Flickr. The park maintains a personal profile on Flickr, but does not run their own Flickr Group. They did, however, join a Group created by a third party, and that’s where the difficulties arose.

The third party had created a Group named “Hong Kong Disneyland.” The Group name is a big part of the problem; it is likely to cause confusion among users and create a false impression. Moreover, the Group profile page does nothing to clear up the situation and leaves visitors with the impression that this is an official, or at least officially sanctioned, Flickr Group for the park. The Group has a significant number of members and on the whole is what it should be, that is, a collection of photos taken at the park. However, as membership is open to anyone, there is a potential for abuse — particularly in the absence of proper oversight.

The screenshot at right shows what is occurring in that Group. At least one member is using the Group to promote pornographic imagery. If an unwary visitor clicks on the circled users profile, they are taken to a page filled with pornography. Disney, though neither the owner nor the manager of the Group, suffers from the lack of oversight by the Group owner and has no real recourse. The situation seems foreseeable to us: The brand has failed to control its presence on the channel and has left itself open to abuse.

The lesson here is simple: No one will look after your brand like you will. Don’t delegate reputation management to strangers.

Fragmentation is another branding issue of concern. In the rush to get online it seems that many firms created profiles that were subsequently allowed to lay fallow. Still other brands are now struggling to get things back under control after a fast (and perhaps somewhat uncontrolled) start to their social media efforts.

Wotif is a case in point. In the past, the firm maintained a large number of Twitter profiles, each targeting a different country market. They have recently shifted away from that “pure” markets strategy, choosing instead to consolidate all their non-Australian promotional activity on Twitter into a single profile.

The new profile, named WotifG2G (seen at right), covers all the activity outside of Australia and replaces several country-specific Twitter profiles, for example, the WotifUAE and the WotifAmericas Profiles seen below. Wotif has left up the old Twitter profiles — at least for the time being — and is using them to steer existing Followers and newcomers into the new G2G profile (see, collage at bottom).

Other firms who have spread themselves too thinly, or who now find that brand control is an issue, would do well to learn from Wotif’s exercise. It may be a bit painful, but the short-term pain is offset by the long-term advantages of improving control over your message and reduced overhead.

Note: This article is excerpted from the 2010 Asia Travel Engagement Report, a water&stone white paper. You can view the report in it’s entirety by visiting the online marketing resources page and clicking on the White Papers.